Throughout the Hornets' coaching interview process, there's been a lot to like, but also a lot to question. The fact that the team started its coaching process early, established a wide range of very qualified candidates, and quickly moved to interview each of them is commendable. Those three moves have given New Orleans a leg up on Chicago and New Jersey, two places the media certainly projects as fancier/superior/rococo destinations.
But many eyebrows have been elevated at George Shinn's reported involvement in the coaching hire (... and for my last trick!), at the leaked news of the Hornets' contract offer to Thibodeau, at the leaked reports detailing Chris Paul's advocacy of Monty Williams. Maybe Thibodeau's and Paul's people provided those last two leaks, but the Hornets' PR has been more @insidetheBCS than solid, well-planned strategy.
I'm sure most of y'all have caught the latest news:
Sources close to [New Orleans] insist... that the Hornets plan to offer the job... to Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Monty Williams if Thibodeau has not accepted the job before Thursday’s Game 1.
That essentially means Thibodeau's deadline is 8 PM Central tonight. Is the Hornets' decision to issue this ultimatum astute or obtuse?
Some will hate it ("why would TT want to come here if he feels like he's being forced?", etc). To me, it's a very smart decision.
The Hornets' biggest advantage over New Jersey and Chicago is the timing of their coaching search. Writers can debate all day long whether the lure of a Derrick Rose or a Chris Bosh or an AK-47 toting owner outweighs the draw of a Chris Paul. At the end of the day though, the value of a contract offer in hand versus a potential future offer is a bigger trump card than any of those.
By letting Thibodeau coach out the Finals, New Orleans loses that. Thibodeau has been reportedly atop Chicago's wist list for more than a week now, even if they haven't yet spoken to him. Reports emerged yesterday that Thibodeau and New Jersey have "mutual interest." The odds are very, very good that at least one of those two teams offers Thibodeau a contract after the Finals. New Orleans, plain and simple, has better odds of winning the Thibodeau race by forcing him to decide by tomorrow. Toss in the PR aspect of the deal, and a more welcoming atmosphere for Monty Williams should he be the pick, and it's clear this was a good move.